For most people, the holiday season means delicious food and drinks shared with friends and family. For Seattle police, the holiday season means increased drunk driving patrols and more DUI charges.
According to law enforcement, more than 50 people were arrested for drunken driving between the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving and the Sunday evening after. One of these arrests included a man in his 70s who allegedly hit another man and a woman with his car in a Walmart parking lot. According to police, the individuals all were at Walmart for Black Friday deals.
It should be noted that penalties associated with vehicular homicide involving DUI have become stiffer after Washington's state legislature passed a bill increasing prison time for a first-time offender. The sentencing went up from two to three years to six to eight years. The penalties associated with drunk driving charges are also steep, and include the required installation of an ignition interlock device, which costs about $1,200.
In Seattle, a person can be charged with DUI if he or she drives a motor vehicle while intoxicated in an area that the public can access. In an effort to prove that a driver was drunk, a prosecutor may present evidence that includes blood-alcohol test results, observations from witnesses, any incriminating statements the driver may have made, and other physical evidence. These issues are likely on the minds of those individuals who were arrested over the Thanksgiving weekend.
The holidays are some of the most wonderful times to share with loved ones. If individuals know they will be drinking at a holiday event, they should make the proper arrangements to get home. DUI charges are serious no matter what season it is, and anyone who has been accused of drunk driving will need a strong DUI defense.
Source: seattlepi.com, "King County weekend DUI arrests by the numbers," Casey McNerthney, Nov. 26, 2012